2015 Year-End Review

Note: This was actually written and posted in May 2019. It took awhile, but I’m finally catching up with this, as if written on December 31, 2015.

In my 2014 Year-End Review, I explained about my new job with the UNM Health Sciences Center Library and the 70-mile move from Grants, NM, to Albuquerque. I lucked out and through a friend of an acquaintance, found a house to rent near the University.

Then in August, satisfied after seven months in the new job that I could make a long-term commitment, I bought a house. So my 2015 was focused primarily on work and home/house.

Work

  • This first year wasn’t what I expected due to an organization change under the Executive Vice Chancellor. He divested most of the IT organization from the purview of my boss (Director of the library) to a new acting CIO (Chief Information Officer) – temporarily himself. This affected me to a large extent since a lot of my responsibilities were designed to include aspects of the IT initiatives. However, I stayed with the library rather than move to the new CIO’s office.
  • Asked to draft a Data Governance Policy for the Health Sciences, separate from that recently enacted by UNM main campus, as well as to represent the HSC on the main campus Data Governance Committee. After a few weeks of getting up to speed with the issues and aspects germane to the subject, I got very excited about how this initiative could positively affect HSC operations. Unfortunately, the Executive Vice Chancellor (who asked me to lead this effort), did not see this as anything other than a pencil-whipping exercise to satisfy the main campus requirement that HSC had a policy.
  • By November, however, I had developed a pretty good presentation on data governance that I gave at the annual New Mexico Technology in Education (NMTIE) conference in Albuquerque.
  • Before the IT organization change, I did get certified with the ITIL service management process (it’s an IT thing) and completed another Lean training.

Home/House

  • By Memorial Day, I had started seriously looking at houses and neighborhoods in Albuquerque. Around the 4th of July, I found a great, somewhat hidden neighborhood called Matthew Meadow in what’s called the “Near North Valley.” Just about a mile north of Old Town and two miles west of I-25, it’s only a 10-12 minute drive to UNM and really centrally-located for just about every place I need to go.
  • The owners were accommodating on price and responding to some inspection issues. I was accommodating on a quick closing but letting them stay in the house for a month before taking possession. So we closed in late July but I didn’t move until the last week in August.
  • Even though I had not been a homeowner ¬†for fourteen years, thanks to the nearby Lowe’s Home Improvement store I easily got back into the swing of the hammer, turn of the screw, and swipe of the card. The house was almost 40 years old with the typical plain, stucco and flat roof design that characterizes New Mexico. The previous owners had put in a lot of improvements to sell the house, including new countertops and appliances in the kitchen, nice wood floors in the living areas and hallways, and recent new roof and central heat/air conditioning. As my realtor put it, the house had “good bones” even though there was a lot I didn’t care for. So, hello, Lowe’s!
  • The first four months included:
    – purchasing three killer rugs for the living, dining and den;
    – taking down and rewiring the kitchen ceiling fixtures and replacing them;
    – down-sizing the ridiculous 4-legged, 76″ high interior adobe wall in the entry;
    – replacing a half-dozen or so aged light fixtures with mostly track lighting;
    – installing wall-mounted speakers in the front hall by the dining room;
    – ripped out the original dark-stained and beaten-up baseboards that looked terrible;
    – ripping out two interior closest in the den. I know I want to use that space as my command central for all things audio, video and digital, but at this point I’m not really sure how it’s all going to come together;
    – and finally, painted the kitchen, den, hall, adobe wall, and fireplace.

House Photos Before I Moved In (previous owners’ stuff)

“The Wall” Project

I shot a 2-minute video demonstrating how I chiseled out the bricks, on YouTube.

House Progress/Status as of December 2015

Disclaimer: I hired a guy to sheetrock the kitchen ceiling where the big old oak light fixture used to be, and the same guy did the finish stucco work on the adobe entry wall. Everything else I’ll take credit, or blame, for.

Family

  • Fred and Juanise dancingMy father and stepmother moved back to Tulsa (from Jefferson, TX) early in the year. My stepsister, who was the prime driver in their decision to move since she and her husband had retired in Jefferson, lost her husband after a lengthy illness and decided she needed to return to Tulsa where her daughter’s family was growing. So it made sense.
  • My daughter visited for a few days in the summer. She let me observe an informal shooting session she did with our friends Aaron and Marisa (see 2011 and also What a Marriage a Difference Makes).
  • In April and May, I started having issues with my right knee, which had been surgically-repaired in 1995 for a torn meniscus. The limping reached an annoying and concerning level, so I saw an orthopedic doc at UNM. He dissuaded me (“at your age”) from another surgery and instead suggested he give me a cortisone shot and a daily regimen of Aleve to see if that improves the situation. I’m very pleased to say that so far, so good.

Other

  • In July, August and September I got to see live two comedians (Bill Maher and Eddie Izzard), an up and coming blues star (Gary Clark, Jr.), three established stars and personal faves (Steely Dan, Elvis Costello, and Foo Fighters), and one blood-red supermoon lunar eclipse.
  • As the stars aligned, the lunar eclipse coincided with the Foo Fighters amphitheater concert. As Dave Grohl and the group on stage were facing the rising moon throughout the eclipse phase, he not only talked about it but the band broke out with a celestially-appropriate jam of CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising.” As documented here.
  • In my first six years in New Mexico I had avoided the biggest annual event in the state – October’s Balloon Fiesta. But this year I went twice, owing to two friends from Fort Worth visiting over two different weekends. All I can say is, I wish I had gone earlier, and I can’t wait to go back. (Especially with what I learned about traffic and transportation.)

Looking Ahead

Given that I’m writing this in May 2019, it’s kind of a fraud to try and tease or portend what may happen, so I’ll let it all be a surprise. Or not.